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MamasKeeper
Posted: Monday, July 28, 2014 10:39 AM
Joined: 2/20/2014
Posts: 16


I am new to this website and the caregiver for my mother who has yet to be fully diagnosed.

 

She has been able to pass a mini mental status test but her family dr did not expect that and is in agreement with me that she is in some kind of early stages of dementia.

 

Just a few examples of things....she replaces names of ppl or objects with other words or nonsense words.  She often can't finish sentences.  She has no sense of how to act appropriately in different situations any more (ie., church; she was a pastors wife for over 20 yrs)  She picked up our little dog one day as if no one could hear her and was singing "we hate people"  We were in the ER with her and she saw the dr come past the door and thought his stethoscope was a belt and was frightened and asked what he was going to do to the ppl in the next room with the belt.  I know there are many many things she could also have.  Mother is 64.  Her mother also had ALZ and was somewhere around this age when she was diagnosed.

 

Any suggestions from those of you dealing with this at a younger age would be appreciated as mother has multiple health problems and many people look at me as if I'm crazy for acting like this is a possibility  at her age.

 

Thank you.


Iris L.
Posted: Monday, July 28, 2014 12:23 PM
Joined: 12/15/2011
Posts: 18509


Welcome.  To rely on a mini mental status exam when a patient has so many symptoms is unwise.  Your mom should be referred to a neurologist who regularly diagnoses and treats the dementia.  Get a referral ASAP.


What was done in the ER?


I also suggest you stop discussing your mom's situation with other people. They are clueless as to signs of early dementia.  You will receive no support from them.


Get your mom to sign papers for DPOA while she still can understand their importance.  

Here is online reading material about dementia for newcomers:


http://www.alzconnected.org/discussion.aspx?tid=2147499781&g=posts&t=2147499795  


Iris L.


MamasKeeper
Posted: Monday, July 28, 2014 5:44 PM
Joined: 2/20/2014
Posts: 16


She signed a DPOA several years ago to me.  She has multiple health problems.  She was at the ER because she had almost passed out on me and had bronchitis.  The passing out episodes were what brought her back to living closer to me again and forced her to stop working.  They were never clearly diagnosed. 

 

She has since been diagnosed with COPD, stage 3 kidney disease, and she already had other things such as major depression, Meniere's disease, fibromyalgia, diverticulosis, severe anemia, hiatal hernia, GERD, and I'm certain I'm leaving something out....but you get the idea........

 

Her family Dr has been better support than any other dr I could have asked for and she will listen to him and he is trying to get her in for an eval at a geriatric neuropsychologist at UAB. 

 

When mother will acknowledge the possibility of dementia, it scares her because she knows what we went through with grandma, but she will quickly tell me she's NOT CRAZY.  And I reassure her that I don't think she's crazy and I'm going to take care of her.

 

I am an only child and I am all she has.  I love her so very dearly and so far reading through these boards has made me feel that her unclear diagnosis and up and down behavior is not unusual at all.  Thank you so much for responding to me.


Iris L.
Posted: Monday, July 28, 2014 6:57 PM
Joined: 12/15/2011
Posts: 18509


MamasKeeper wrote:

 

 

When mother will acknowledge the possibility of dementia, it scares her because she knows what we went through with grandma, but she will quickly tell me she's NOT CRAZY.  And I reassure her that I don't think she's crazy and I'm going to take care of her.

 

I am an only child and I am all she has.  I love her so very dearly 

 
 
The best thing you can do for your mom you are already doing--reassure her that's she's not crazy and that you're going to take care of her.  You are already far ahead in providing what your mom needs.  

Although there is no cure for dementia, there is treatment.  The treatment involves medication, lifestyle habits, modifying the environment and having support from people who love us.  Somehow, anything can be tolerated if you know you have people in your corner.

If your mom can use the computer, please invite her to join us patients here on our message board.  If not, please help her with Best Practices.  She has many chronic conditions, so she must do the best she can.  You might research the many threads on aromatherapy, which might be of benefit.

 
Also, you can research the medications your mom is on and search for cognitive side effects and drug interactions.  Check out www.rxlist.com or www.drugs.com. 

 
Work with your mom on simplifying her environment.  Make her life comfortable and stress-free as much as possible.  Don't focus with your mom so much on the "D" word--dementia.  Just let her proceed with life.  You, on the other hand, will become her advocate and work on getting whatever she needs, done.

Iris L.


 

MamasKeeper
Posted: Tuesday, July 29, 2014 8:27 AM
Joined: 2/20/2014
Posts: 16


Thank you Iris L. for your words of encouragement.  She used to have a laptop and be able to use it just fine and can use her iphone and is even on facebook (even though some things she posts she has me go back and delete) but when she tries to use my laptop now she gets very frustrated and gives up on it.

 

I think I'm going to get her an ipad for Christmas.  She couldn't afford internet when she was living alone but she can use it now because she is living with me.  An ipad will be like her phone and not as frustrating. 

 

Her medicines are scrutinized by the kidney doctor right now for side effects to her kidneys.  I don't think she was taking them correctly before she moved in with me and that is another issue we are slowly working on because she was the caregiver for so long and she does know her medication names and doses and is very defensive that she doesn't forget or take them incorrectly.  We have made great progress and have purchased a 31 day 4x a day dispenser and she is starting to let go gradually and let me help her more.  She was beginning to hide her medicines and starting to accuse my daughter of stealing her pain pills.  She let me have the pain pills to keep and dispense so that got rid of the hiding and accusing and agitation.

 

Again, thank you so much for listening to me.  I know I am rambling and talking way too much.  Just have had no one around that is in my situation to talk to.


Iris L.
Posted: Tuesday, July 29, 2014 10:22 AM
Joined: 12/15/2011
Posts: 18509


You sound like you and your mom are making progress.  Your mom is doing better than I.  I''m still struggling with using FB, and I don't have a smartphone.

Since your mom is doing do well on the  computer, please invite her to join us patients on our board, so we can support her.

I'm copying the online reading material here--there's lots of information:

 

http://www.alzconnected.org/discussion.aspx?tid=2147499781&g=posts&t=2147499795     

 

 

You will also find lots of support on the caregiver board.  They can answer all your questions.

Best wishes to you and your mom.

Iris L.


MamasKeeper
Posted: Wednesday, July 30, 2014 3:23 PM
Joined: 2/20/2014
Posts: 16


Thanks Iris L. 

 

I may have said it wrong.  The phone doesn't frustrate her, the laptop does bc it doesn't have a touchscreen.  I am in the market for an ipad because she seems to be able to text me better than converse with me sometimes.  I'm not sure why though??

 

She really can't do any browsing, but I will introduce her to the message boards soon I hope.  I think it would be good for her to talk on here.  She really doesn't acknowledge that she may have any type of dementia yet so I'm not sure how to approach her about the boards.

 

Any suggestions?


Iris L.
Posted: Wednesday, July 30, 2014 5:48 PM
Joined: 12/15/2011
Posts: 18509


MamasKeeper wrote:

  I think it would be good for her to talk on here.  She really doesn't acknowledge that she may have any type of dementia yet so I'm not sure how to approach her about the boards.

 

Any suggestions?


If your mom is not aware of her memory and cognitive impairments, it is doubtful that posting on this board will be of help to her.  She will not recgnize herself and then begin to seek help.  She has anosognosia, the lack of awareness of having a brain disorder. 

Most people who post here start off by saying, "I was just diagnosed with having Alzheimer's," or "I am undergoing evaluation for Alzheimer's."  If your mom can say this, she may be able to interact with us and get some meaning from the posts.  Otherwise, these posts may just frustrate her. 

Here is some information about anosognosia:
 

http://alzonline.phhp.ufl.edu/en/reading/Anosognosia.pdf 

 

Iris L. 
 

 


Mimi S.
Posted: Wednesday, July 30, 2014 7:50 PM
Joined: 11/29/2011
Posts: 7027


If you think something will help your mom, please don't wait for Christmas. when she wants to know why, just reply: Because I felt like it.

 

There are many different types of dementia and your idea of going to the University sounds good.

Also, people with high intelligence can often pass the mini-mental test. In my own case, the doctor did not receive good instructions on how to judge the drawing. if she'd watched me, she would have known how much trouble I was having.


llee08032
Posted: Thursday, July 31, 2014 7:50 AM
Joined: 5/20/2014
Posts: 4408


If you think something will help your mom, please don't wait for Christmas. when she wants to know why, just reply: Because I felt like it.


Agree-don't wait until Christmas. Every moment and day from this point forward is oh so precious and important for mom!


MamasKeeper
Posted: Thursday, July 31, 2014 8:48 AM
Joined: 2/20/2014
Posts: 16


I wasn't sure if you all would mind my questions on your board since I'm a caregiver, but I really appreciate all of your input.

 

Mother wanted us to cook minute steaks we had purchased when I got home from work yesterday so I got in there with her.  She was her usual self, like me, doing 3 or 4 things at once; but when she sat the milk jug down on the stove fixing some gravy.........I knew I needed to help more when she wants to cook.

 

She was always a good cook.  My mother cared for her mother, but by the time my grandmother moved in, her decline was already so rapid she was bedridden within 6-12 months.  We were living too far away to see all the early symptoms so I have all these mixed emotions right now watching her go through all of this.  Wondering how much time we have left with her knowing us and being able to enjoy life.

 

Thanks again so much everyone for being so welcoming and helpful as mother and I go on this journey.


Iris L.
Posted: Thursday, July 31, 2014 8:55 AM
Joined: 12/15/2011
Posts: 18509


The first interaction I had with the wonderful members of this board was them urging me to stop using the stove.  I did so until I was stabilized on Exelon patch.  Since your are concerned about her safety with cooking, your mom should not use the stove unsupervised.  In fact, all safety issues should be examined at this time and appropriate action taken.

Iris L.

MamasKeeper
Posted: Monday, August 4, 2014 4:36 PM
Joined: 2/20/2014
Posts: 16


Iris L.,

 

Sadly, I am having to reexamine everything in my home right now for safety issues.  I can tell a difference in her everyday reaction time to things.  I am going to light a fire when we go to her regular dr on the 18th to get a few things checked out because she has been having headaches more frequently this month and describing them differently and even though her balance has been declining it seems worse than it was a few weeks ago.

 

She is not an invalid and refuses to be treated that way, but even she has told me she thinks she needs her head checked.

 

It is a work in progress for us.....a push/pull......but her safety is number one priortity.....she will eventually forget she has ever been mad at me.


Myriam
Posted: Monday, August 4, 2014 9:46 PM
Joined: 12/6/2011
Posts: 3326


MammasKeeper, have you looked at the side effects of the drugs she is taking? I had a steep decline when I started taking Namenda XR28. When I changed to a lower dosage, I reverted back to the early stage.